Culled from my own thoughts and discussions with various others over the years.
- Add more refs. There should be a minimum of two on-field refs, and ideally three.
- Put a fourth ref in the booth to decide via video replay. Purists complain that replay slows down the game. But how many times have you seen a game decided by a bogus PK, because the refs just didn’t have the right angle? I’d rather have a slightly slower game than an illegit one.
- Retroactively punish diving. The number of dives per game can be drastically reduced by drastically increasing the cost of diving. A committee should evaluate game footage afterwards and issue cards for obvious dives that the refs have missed.
- Have an intermediate penalty between yellow and red cards. Make teams play a man down for a specific amount of time, as in hockey. It sucks when the balance of a game is horribly skewed after a marginal foul because the ref had no option but to issue a red.
- Modify overtime to avoid penalty kicks. PKs are incredibly exciting, no doubt, but if you’re an actual fan of one of the teams playing, they’re a horrible way to decide the game. (Imagine if tied NBA games were decided by free throws instead of overtimes.) Instead, when overtime starts, and every five minutes thereafter, each team should remove a player. The fewer players there are on the pitch, the more open the game will be, and the more likely someone is to score. At least this way, the outcome is decided by a soccer-like mechanism.